Something is going very wrong in the heads of
a substantial number of Americans. - Paul Krugman.
Rebirth, not Recovery: Moody's says the job market will not return to a “normal” 5% unemployment until 2014. Nearly 5 million people have been unemployed for over six months, 9 million Americans have taken part-time jobs because they cannot find full time work. The average work week is now 33.1 hours. The economy needs to be adding about about 170 thousand net jobs per month. And we'll hit 10% unemployment in October. Or November. Or December for sure. Or maybe September. Happy Labor Day.
Gone With the Wind: More than half of jobs lost since the recession began are gone for good. By August, 54% of the unemployed were not on “layoff” - over 8 million folks.
Foggy Data Test : With unemployment headed for 10% and not expected to return to normal for about 5 years, how is consumer spending going to pump the economy back to a 3-4% growth rate? (a) More stimulus money. (b) Negative interest rates. (c) Sell off the kids. (d) Click your heels.
Mission Creeps: All this talk about a new strategy in Afghanistan comes down to this: we are no longer simply trying to keep the Taliban out of power, we are trying to remake Afghanistan in our own image. The only part of that mission that seems to be going well is rigged elections and corrupt politicians.
Follow the Bouncing Ball: Before things went to hell in a hand-basket, the top 10% took in fully half of all earnings in the US and accounted for 42% of consumer spending. Those top 10% are, if anything, doing even better today. Thus, they argue dispassionately, their taxes should not be raised, for they are the only ones outside the government itself with any money to spend to revive the economy. Protect the very rich, they're essential to the country!
Under the Bus: If the federal health plan needs to staff Death Panels, it would do well to recruit from the top six California private health insurers, which denied one out of every five requests from their insured clients; over 31 million in the last 7 years – and far too often the denial of service became a death sentence. Cost control is important in the struggle to return profits to the shareholders, and these exemplary firms are to be congratulated.
Let Me Rephrase That: China has cleared up the misunderstanding that lead to reports that it had banned exports of rare earth minerals essential to making hybrid cars, cellphones, wind turbines and other high-tech items. What they meant to say was they would happily manufacture the items requiring those rare earth minerals and export the finished products.
Snowball Survives Hell: George Will gets it right again: If, in spite of contrary evidence, the U.S. surge permanently dampened sectarian violence, all U.S. forces can come home sooner than the end of 2011. If, however, the surge did not so succeed, U.S. forces must come home sooner.
Porn O'Graph: Miss House, Mr Labor, tangoing.
Porn O'Graph: How many relatives aren't working?
Porn O'Graph: Happy Labor Day!